CCAC court reporting grads see high employment rates before graduation

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PITTSBURGH —

The students in Mary Beth Johnson's court reporting class at the Community College of Allegheny County are pounding away at the keys because the jobs are knocking on the door.

"I have actually been working part-time since the summer for a company," said student Karen Dashineau.

"He committed to actually hiring me as soon as I was done," said classmate Maureen Danzuso.

CCAC has a 60 percent overall job placement rate, but this intense program has a 100 percent rate.

"We have students in our final level with employers waiting for them to get their final speeds," said Johnson.

"It seems like you can get your foot in the door before you even graduate," said student James McCoy.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for those with a two-year degree or some college experience is up by 578,000 in the past six months, and they are having better success than some four-year college graduates.

Experts believe community college graduates are recouping jobs lost in the recession

"All my friends and my sisters all went to a four year school and I watched both of them struggle to get a job and it made me nervous," said Carolyn Glaser. "But it's nice that I definitely have a guaranteed job."

There's a huge demand for court reporters because this field now includes closed captioning on TV and jJumbotrons at sporting events.

"If you go to a Pirates baseball game, underneath the Jumbotron is a two -line display and a court reporter is sitting in a booth writing what the broadcaster says," said Johnson.

And the pay can be very good.

"We have graduates who earn six figures," she said.

Students have to pass three speed tests of 225 words a minute to graduate.

Just hours after Channel 11 met Karen Dashineau, she took her final test and passed.

Later that day, a firm hired her on the spot and she started working a few days later.